The Soupster was (yet again) marveling at the beauty of the view from the rear of Our Town’s library. Tsk, tsk, so many gorgeous views in Our Town and so little time. The Soupster always did his best to stop and smell the coffee – even if it sometimes turned out to be tea.
He was on his way to borrow (yet another) graphic novel about a serious historical event. These novels contained page after page of comic-book-like art and dialogue telling the story of some awful occurrence — like being in Hiroshima while it was bombed. These were not children’s books — they gleaned elements from both written novels and live-action movies to tell their ghastly, true tales. Their pages made the Soupster think of the story boards many movie directors draw to plan each shot before the cameras roll. The graphic novel format made the subjects more accessible to the reader than either of the two other mediums, the Soupster thought.
As the Soupster headed for the stacks he was grabbed by the ankle by Roddy Updike, sitting on the floor with his back against the wall. Roddy was famous for his electronic-filled semi-annual garage sales. “If you don’t need state-of-the-art, Roddy Updike probably has one he’s not using any more,” the Soupster had been told, although he had yet to avail himself.
“Soupster,” whispered Roddy. “Did you hear they’re going to make some of downtown wireless? Like if you’re waiting on line at the bank, you can check your email.”
“Great, Roddy,” the Soupster quietly answered.
“But don’t try and steal any of the little transmitter boxes, because they can trace the signal back to you,” Roddy said.
“I promise I won’t,” said the Soupster. “What are you here for?”
“My wife told me to get offline and go for a walk, so I walked to the library,” Roddy said. “She said my skin was looking sallow being inside all the time. But when I got here, all the computers were booked for the next two hours, so I’ve been sitting here waiting. Sometimes somebody gets sick and has to go home early. Maybe I’ll get lucky.”
“What’s so important?” asked the Soupster.
“Oh, nothing,” said Roddy. “I’ve been spending some time on www.TheSpouseTheyCameUpWith.com. The site tracks people who have moved away from Our Town after they used to be married to somebody here. Like Facebook without the faces. Quite an elaborate website. I’ve got to find our who does it.”
“I’ve been analyzing the data from TheSpouseTheyCameUpWith.com,” Roddy went on, “ and, evidently, the school district is leading the way with the most entries… per capita, I guess. Followed by the aviation industry. My wife says I have a morbid fascination.”
“You do tend to overdo things sometimes,” the Soupster said gently.
Roddy started to answer the Soupster, but stopped and reached into his one pocket and then another. “My cell phone,” he said distractedly. “It’s vibrating. I set the phone on vibrate to keep it quiet in the library.”
“Take your time,” said the Soupster. Roddy produced his phone and read its tiny screen.
“It’s a Tweet from the baker,” he said. “The Parmesan Chipotle Sourdough bread is fresh from the oven.” He rose to his feet. “With a loaf of that under my arm, my wife can’t help but let me back inside!”
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